Like it or not, we are currently embroiled in the summer of “Puigmania” as everyone is enamored by how Yasiel Puig, the 22-year-old phenom, has been tearing the cover off of the baseball in his first month in the major leagues.
Puig has played in just 30 games but in that span, has reinvigorated a struggling Los Angeles Dodgers team, lit the baseball world on fire and has had sportswriters, broadcasters and analysts everywhere talking about the next great NL outfielder and debating on whether or not a 30-game, 119 at-bat sample size, is enough for one to make the 2013 All-Star Game.
With all good debates, there are reasons why people think Puig should or shouldn’t be chosen as an All-Star, but now none of that matters. People will have their opinions but Puig has officially gone from a write-in to a candidate on the Final Vote Ballot. He will now have the opportunity to get America to vote him into the game.
Naturally, this is a brilliant move by MLB, whether intentional or not.
Because now, NL manager Bruce Bochy does not have to worry about taking flak for selecting Puig over a more deserving outfielder but at the same time, those that have clamored to see Puig included will have their chance and their say on whether or not he is.
Anyone can vote and this includes the media, which have made no attempt to hide just how much they would like to see Puig in the game. In fact, FOX analyst and former player Doug Glanville, actually took out his phone at the end of the All-Star Selection Show, saying, “I’m going to vote for him right now.”
That is not to fault Glanville because of course it is within his right to vote for and support whoever he wants. However, the question that it poses is, is it a fair contest? Do Freddie Freeman, Adrian Gonzalez, Ian Desmond or Hunter Pence, the other four candidates, even stand a chance?
Putting aside those in the sports media world that are publicly throwing their support behind Puig, there is also the matter of the young Dodger being a simply polarizing figure and one that has dominated baseball coverage. In fact, even when baseball writers aren’t outright supporting Puig, they are still talking about him.
And chances are, if you live in America and watch baseball at least somewhat regularly, you probably know the name of Puig too. In fact, you’ve probably heard it mentioned during a local telecast of your own team’s home game. His is a name that just seems to be everywhere.
It is doubtful many in this country are asking Puig who? But do you know what they are probably asking: Who is Desmond or Freeman?
Outside of their home markets, many people probably don’t know either of these guys, despite their solid stats and performances for their teams. Not that either of them are hitting over .400 like Puig, but their stats are good enough and their sample size significantly larger, that one of them might deserve the spot over Puig.
But as far as the media goes, I’d bet money that you won’t hear too much about the cases that should be made for the other four guys.
In fact, just Google, “NL All-Star Final Vote” and see what comes up. I’ll give you a hint; Pence’s name doesn’t appear in a headline on the first page. Desmond’s does, but the article is from MASN, aka the home station of the Washington Nationals. Gonzalez got his name included on a headline, but it was from a blogger talking about the Dodgers.
The most I heard about Freeman’s case tonight was from an Atlanta Braves player that crafted a sign in the middle of a game that just so happened to get caught during a television shot of the dugout.
The articles from MLB.com, however, are nothing but Puigcentric.
So I could take this time to level the playing field and make the case for some of the other four, but I won’t. The vote is up to you and far from me to try to impact you the way other members of the sports media world are.